The past couple months I've noticed a swelling, silent void around me. You know that feeling after you've been to a concert; when you walk from the club to your car, open the door and get in, and in the silence of your car your ears ring as they adjust back to a normal environment? That's kind of what it feels like.
It seems up until recently everyone had a cause to rally behind: Darfur, Uganda, AIDS, clean water, adoption, breast cancer, global poverty, depression - and on down the list of thousands of worthwhile causes. Everyone was doing it from Bono and Chris Martin, to the GAP, to local kids who organized benefit shows at their local rock clubs, to Facebook friends who sent benefit invite after benefit invite.
The void that I've noticed is the one left by those voices. Those voices that were so vigilantly campaigning for the defenseless or vulnerable have oddly gone mute. And, my question is why now? Why, as our government just crammed an 1,100 page stimulus package through congress and is about to flush a Scrooge McDuck amount of money down the toilet is everyone scattering? Why, as we're about to spend $500 MILLION dollars on improvement projects to the National Institute of Health's facilities is no one asking if that tremendous amount of money could be spent on cancer or AIDS research? Where are the urgent voices crying out for food and clean water for Africa when we're about to spend $450 MILLION dollars so NASA can do climate modeling (a government agency that already receives money in the annual budget)? I guess we'll be able to help them graph or map where their rain isn't falling instead of actually giving them food or some kind of agricultural assistence. Where is the pleading for social justice as we're about to spend $150 MILLION dollars on a museum instead of creating jobs or putting food in mouths and clothes on backs?
People vehemently opposed the war in Iraq, often citing the price tag that came along with it. Not like I think that was the most deftly planned or executed thing our country has ever done, but it seems like instead of spending money on a military operation, we just diverted the objective of our financial irresponsibility.
This package is the result of our country's grotesque and twisted appetite. From what I understand it's supposed to symbolize a change of direction but it just looks like more of the same. In two rushed votes in Washington DC we traded one faulty money pit for another, and I hardly heard a peep. And, in that peepless void, justice wasn't done for those who need it the most.
Is it just me or are anyone else's ears ringing?
[EDIT: Please see my addendum here.]